3 Tips: Visiting the West Village on a Budget

I always love a visit to New York. The city is home to several of my best girlfriends - the girls that share ideas, life perspectives and inspire each other to continuously step up the game (love having friends like that). And! For the last two summers Ben has had several days of tour break in NYC which means he and I can plan time there too. I usually avoid the tourist destinations - absolutely do those if you're going for your first visit - however, if you want to relax a little and stay out of the hustle and bustle it's surprisingly not too difficult to make that happen.

I typically stay in the West Village or Brooklyn, depending on which of my girlfriends is taking me in. This past month I was there on the Summer Solstice (my favorite day of the year I think!) and was able to spend 3 days in the West Village with my friend Christine.

I feel a kindred spirit connection to the Village... poets, musicians and the bohemian stars all spent time there. The trick is it's easy to drop every penny you've planned to spend in NYC in one fell swoop if you don't plan wisely. As a writer myself I like to channel Edna St. Vincent Millay who described her life in New York as "very, very poor and very, very merry" and approach my West Village time on an artist's budget. So here's a few tips on how I enjoy the neighborhood without breaking the bank.

3 Tips for Visiting the West Village on a Budget

1. Dine Alfresco.

While it's tempting, in this case I don't mean at a sidewalk cafe. I love making a picnic lunch and taking it down to Hudson River Park. I suggest visiting Murray's Cheese, grabbing a pre-made salad or a few snack type items and creating your own little gourmet set up. There's also several little wine shops to grab a bottle. Legally I'm not sure if you're allowed to bring wine down to the river, so check that, however adding a little rose champagne to your travel mug shouldn't draw much attention.

2. Immerse into the Arts.

Speaking of St. Vincent Millay, The Cherry Lane Theatre (she was a founding member), whose stated mission is: to cultivate an urban artist colony, honor our groundbreaking history, and engage audiences as partners in creating theater that illuminates contemporary issues, is the oldest continuously operating off-Broadway theater. The mainstage productions can cost you upwards of $65/ticket, however the studio events are often half the price.

I also highly recommend spending time gallery hopping. Galleries are typically free to visit and I, for one, can spend an entire day roaming the halls of galleries and museums. There's a good list of galleries to experience here and for the most part, you can just wander in off the street and take it all in.

3. Create Your Own (Outdoor) Adventure

One thing I absolutely love to do on a New York Summer day is to get dressed up (keep the flats on though!) and head out on foot. I'd honestly rather walk 2 miles than take the subway, and it's one of my favorite ways to explore the off the beaten path, historic locations in the Village.

Walk the length of the High Line - the architecture is stunning and the gardens and plant life along the way is meticulously cared for. Maybe stop midway for lunch or a coffee, and then continue to wander the Village streets. Take a walk by Patchin Place, once home to e.e. cummings, and if you're a fashion lover you must stop by the Carrie Bradshaw House from Sex and the City. Of course in the show Carrie lived on the Upper East Side in a rent controlled apartment, the actual house which sold for almost $10 million is in the West Village on Perry St.

I'd love to hear from you guys! How do you travel on a budget? What are your favorite New York destinations?